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Old 09-09-2013, 04:58 PM
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Mary Pat Campbell
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NY
Studying for duolingo and coursera
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Marking a significant political shift, Contra Costa's public worker retirement system last week eliminated most pension spiking opportunities for new employees.

The Contra Costa County Employees' Retirement Association administers pensions for 17 government agencies. Its board consists of the county treasurer, four trustees appointed by the county Board of Supervisors, and four retiree and employee representatives.

Historically, labor has controlled the board because county supervisors have appointed at least one union-friendly trustee. That ended in June, when they refused to reappoint former Richmond Councilwoman Maria Theresa Viramontes and replaced her with attorney Scott Gordon.

The first significant sign of change came when the retirement board decided how to implement the new state pension law for workers hired after Jan. 1 of this year. For years, the Contra Costa system has included a ridiculous list of pay add-ons in pension calculations.

For example, a worker's pension could be based not only on highest base salary but also extra compensation for everything from unused vacation to shift differentials, holiday pay and training certificates.

The new state law eliminated many add-ons for new employees' pension calculations, but left it to each retirement system to make determinations on other items. With Viramontes, the Contra Costa pension board had planned to include a substantial list.

But on Wednesday, trustees voted to eliminate all add-ons. Pensions for new workers will be calculated using only base pay. That comports with the plain reading of the new law.


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